True Life: Coping Without TV and Internet
I used to live with a roommate, a cat, Internet, and cable television. Now I have a computer with no Internet and a stuffed dog from IKEA. Nothing in my apartment is hooked up to the outside world, besides plumbing and lighting. No modems. No routers. No cable wires. When I wake up craving a particular song that’s not on my iTunes, I have no YouTube or Spotify to satisfy that craving. The F4 key on my Mac won’t even display the weather.
I felt bored during my first week without TV or Internet, and wondered whether the average person would be as impacted by my situation. A quick Google search led to a New York Times article stating that “at home, people consume 12 hours of media a day on average, when an hour spent with, say, the Internet and TV simultaneously counts as two hours.” This could be me—and that doesn’t include time spent surfing the Internet at work.
Feeling uneasy, I decided to keep tabs on just how much media I’d consume without access to the Internet or TV.
It was a full two hours. I looked up recipes on my smart phone. I watched three episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” from a borrowed DVD. The rest of my free time was spent reading, running, cooking, cleaning, and gazing at the skyline. I had so much extra time, and that time felt fulfilling.
The whole experiment got me thinking about how we spend—or waste—our time at work. If we all spent less time surfing the Internet for recipes and music and blogs, what more would we get accomplished? My guess is a lot—but I’m not ready to test it just yet. One step at a time.